Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Fun

I have been going through a bit of a tough time lately, which I will write about...just not today. Today is Wellness Wednesday, and so in honor of that, I want to write about something FUN! 

1. No matter what we are going through, we can always have a Grateful ♥ Heart.
Kelly has been writing about this topic, and about how when we are grateful, it can actually be creative and generative. So I have been experimenting with this idea. (I'll write more on this later.)

2. This is a fun picture (my new purple glasses--progressive bifocals--which I am not wearing them yet as I have to find a good time to break them in...yes, I am uber-procrastinating), and I'm sharing it to honor a promise I made to my friend EB (Angie). It is also to complement and honor the Queen of Arts (Kim Mailhot):

3. This is a list from a post by my friend Kate Robertson, who is teaching a class called Mixed Media 101. (I'll write more on this later, too...stay tuned!)

Check out this fun Life List found on Dawn DeVries Sokol's blog, D'Blogala... You bold the ones you've done:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band 
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland 
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo 
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris 
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch Knitting, painting, drawing...
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables 
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France 
20. Slept on an overnight train 
21. Had a pillow fight 
22. Hitch hiked (in 1976 with LoveHubbie)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (not physically)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping (too numerous to count)
27. Run a Marathon 
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (gorgeous!)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community 
36. Taught yourself a new language 
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke  
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted 
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling 
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater 
55. Been in a movie 
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check 
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 
71. Eaten Caviar 
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (too numerous to count)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car 
83. Walked in Jerusalem  
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life 
90. Sat on a jury 
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one 
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake  
97. Been involved in a lawsuit 
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sacred Life Sunday: The Challenge Everyone Wants to Have

It is indeed a challenge to receive the good that is brought your way (at least for me) with everything else that is going on in the world. A part of me wants to mourn and just stay mourning, in honor of:

(1) All of the people at Virginia Mason Hospital who didn't get "good news", unlike me,

(2) Everything happening in Japan right now,

(3) People suffering all over the world,

(4) A friend of mine who is currently suffering with depression,

(5) Another friend of mine who struggles with chronic health problems that have been treated but continue to persist,

(5) My best friend Chani who died a year ago today,

(6) The sex trafficking that continues, while IJM works hard to combat it (my stepdaughter is working in the Philippines as a missionary to combat this, and dealing with inconveniences, discomfort, and physical isolation from her family and friends),

(7) Bullies who seem to "win" even though they really don't while but the strife they create endures,

(8) The many people who don't have jobs,

(9) Etc.

It is tempting to think, "I don't believe it" or "There must be a catch" or "I don't deserve this" or "This happens to other people but not to me". I have thought all of these things in the last few days.

Still, it is important to me receive. Accept. The good, the bad. All of it. Today, I am struggling to let the good in. To celebrate. I know that it's the best challenge of all. It's the one everyone wants, and I want it too.

It is a Sacred Sunday. Today I am wishing you the grace to receive the good, despite all of the suffering in our world, and even in your life. I am wishing you peace, joy, and acceptance of all of it--and most of all, innumerable lessons in surmounting the challenge of receiving the good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Second Opinions

I wanted to encourage everyone to have second opinions when they receive a diagnosis. As most of you know, I recently was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). You can read more about this here and here. Although I am very young to have this diagnosis, it's not unheard of, especially with all of the other eye problems I have.

After the diagnosis of AMD, my life changed. AMD is always progressive and the course is unpredictable. So you have to prepare for life changes, such as not driving, not reading, using adaptive devices to perform routine tasks (such as using the computer), and facing a life of dependency upon others. Even if you're pretty independent, it changes your future; it changes how you think about your future. You can remain independent in some ways but not in others. You will ultimately lose your functional sight as there is no cure or treatment for the type of AMD I thought I had. I would be...blind.

I immediately began a protocol of supplements, cut back on my computer usage and reading, and began envisioning a future without my eyes. At church, I received the Sacrament of Healing, and was profoundly touched...I felt as though it gave me strength to let go and trust God. I believed that I could have a good life as a sight-impaired person. Many people (many of you) offered to pray for me and to send healing thoughts my way; I appreciated this so much.

LoveHubbie made an appointment for me with the best specialist he could find in our nearby metro area, Seattle. He said he thought I didn't have AMD...he just had a feeling. My long-time energy worker (Jin Shin Jyutsu) Frank agreed with him. Frank is right a lot of the time but tends to be overly optimistic about things in general (is there such a thing?). I thought they were both in denial, but thought I might get some good information on the prognosis from having the second opinion.

I had to wait two months to get in to see the specialist.

I went to Virginia Mason in Seattle, an excellent hospital. I was examined by two specialists in retinal diseases, so I really got a second and third opinion. Despite all of the benefits, it was hard for me as the retinal exam is pretty grueling and painful for me; in addition I am always sick for a couple of days after with migraines and eye pain. It seemed well worth it though for the prognosis. I felt really privileged to get in with these two doctors.

To my astonishment, they both agreed that I did not have AMD. Instead I had an assortment of minor and pretty normal age-related changes in my eye, but because I have so many other eye issues, the particular combination can mimic AMD. And any general ophthalmologist would diagnosis it as AMD, if she or he were careful. However, a specialist, with her many advanced tests, equipment, and experience in diagnosing retinal diseases--can differentiate AMD from other problems. This is what happened to me yesterday.

I don't have AMD! I can hardly believe it.

If I had never gone for a second opinion, I would never have known this.

My whole life has changed, again. And I am so grateful for my eyesight, and for the prayers and support of so many people. Thank you to all of you who prayed for me. Without the support and the prayers and the sacrament, I don't know what would have happened to me. I could have just as easily slipped into pessimism, resignation, and depression. Maybe I'd never even have gone for the second opinion. Your support means everything to me.

So, today--Wellness Wednesday--I want to remind you:
(1) To be grateful for your eyesight,
(2) To be grateful for your health,
(3) To believe in the power of prayer and healing thoughts, and
(4) To always, always, always get a second opinion on important diagnoses.

And I want to thank you again. Much love, O

Monday, March 14, 2011

Being Brave and Magic

"I don't think that there is anything that is really magical unless it has a terrifying quality..."
 ~ Andrew Wyeth

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Getting Free

I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane
To sneak into my own house and steal money,
To climb over the fence and take my own vegetables.
But no more.
I've gotten free of that ignorant fist
That was pinching and twisting my secret self.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark, Maui, Feb 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today I wanted to write about rejection. I knew someone once who said, "Rejection is an inside job..." and it stuck with me. It's all in how you take things.

I experienced two rejections lately.

One was from some family members, a young couple, who decided to unfriend me on Facebook. I was quite surprised as I'd never been unfriended before. For those of you who aren't familiar with Facebook, it's very easy to "hide" someone whose posts you're uninterested in..."unfriending" is a deliberate act that restricts information and access so that you cannot see any of the person's private information, including photos, and whatever else they have restricted on Facebook's privacy as to be seen by "Only Friends".  It is a deliberate exclusion. They don't want you in their life.

Of course I thought that there had been a mistake. I value my relationship with this couple and like them both a lot. There was some family drama as other family members started to get involved; I ended up calling the couple to find out what happened and straighten everything out. A lot of inexplicable excuses were used, for example, "we're trying to avoid people who play all those games" (I have never played a Facebook game).

I finally got the message that they didn't want to be in contact with me, nor did they want me to see their pictures, nor did they want me involved as they move into a new and exciting phase of their life, one that I'd been looking forward to sharing with them. It was especially frustrating that they would not be up front with me--to be fair, I think they were trying to spare my feelings, and in addition, didn't really know how to be direct. I was sad and disappointed.

I told them I wished them well, and I really do. It doesn't make sense to have people in your life that don't want to be there. I felt hurt at first, but then later was grateful to them...when I realized some things after thinking about the situation some more.

I realized that almost all of the relationship was effort I'd made. Although I valued our relationship, in retrospect, I saw that this couple never gave me any signs that they valued it. I wrote that off at the time to them being young and very busy; now I think that it was something I wanted, so I imagined it. You can do that with Facebook.

The other rejection was not being invited to an (unrelated) important family function. The person in charge assured me that it was a mistake. At first I did believe her, and then later realized that it would be almost impossible to forget inviting me, but that because of other family members who would be there, my coming could make the event a potentially  awkward situation.

I thought about it a lot, at first feeling upset and angry at being marginalized, overlooked, "forgotten". It initially triggered my vulnerabilities I'm addressing with my word for the year--valid. Very quickly, I realized that it either was indeed an innocent mistake, or else it was a semi-tactful way of keeping other family members happy. And I ultimately was fine, though still sad, about it.

I think that rejection is someone telling you, either via honest communication or something else, that you are not a fit for a particular relationship or event. In their opinion.

In the case of a relationship, I want to always honor that, and be grateful to them for letting me know. I love that the relationships I do keep are mutual and involve an investment of time, affection, caring, etc. for both parties.

In the case of an event, I want to trust that I am not supposed to be at that event at that time--for whatever reason--and be at peace with it.

So, in a way, rejection is a gift. It is a blessing. It frees up time and emotional energy for the right people, the right events, at the right time.

I now feel good things towards everyone involved, and don't feel sad, angry, or fact, I feel grateful and clear and light.

How do you process rejection?

Friday, March 4, 2011

When You're Down, Spend Three Minutes Watching This Video

It may seem silly, but oh my, this video cheers me up every time I watch it. It helps me to feel please enjoy and watch it as many times as you need to. It's hard to come away feeling down after viewing it, I promise!

I couldn't figure out how to embed it, so you'll have to click here. Peace, O

P.S. I am feeling a bit better, and continuing to let go!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Letting Go and Happiness

With a big weekend coming up, I am needing to have an emergency trip to the oral surgeon. What I thought was an aphthous ulcer is actually an infection all around my dental implants and possibly an abscess. It hurts to talk and can't chew at all.

We have company coming (a rare event at our house in the woods) and I am singing in a choir and as a cantor this weekend. I have two receptions to go to as well. Oh, yes, and I restarted my diet semi-fast just a couple of days ago. I'll tell you about those things later. At any rate, it's kind of bad timing here!

The only possible thing to do is to let go.

I am fortunate in that things seem to be working out. My dentist saw me as a walk-in when I was out doing errands and couldn't stand the pain anymore. He irrigated everything to remove some of the pressure from the infection. Then he himself called the oral surgeon so that I could get right in. The oral surgeon is unfortunately at his satellite office about 45 minutes south of here. However, my assistant is working with me today and able to drive with me there in case I need to have a big procedure done. It is alternating rain with hail and I am so glad it isn't snowing.

I initially felt hit by fear and anxiety when I was first told the news, but there is truly nothing to do but let go and trust that all will be well, one way or another.

Isn't that all we can ever do?

I am realizing that this can be a very spiritual day, filled with lessons and trust and love, despite all of these circumstances. And truly, every day can be this way.

Wishing you (and me too) a day of letting go, trusting, and accepting with gratitude whatever it is that comes to interrupt your plans today.